There are various mathematical equations which attempt to quantify return on investment, but ROI can mean much more than financial gain. The real difficulty is in gauging the return on investment for delegates of an event.
One of the first fundamental steps in measuring the return on investment for conferences in an exciting way is to clearly identify what the goals are for the conference. Effective conference management will put the goals at the forefront of the event and ensure that the event is built to obtaining these goals and being able to successfully measure the return on investment.
Basic data which can help identify the return on investment can include the follow metrics:
- Social Mentions/Likes
- Survey responses
- Event website referrals and conversions
- Email clicks
- Email opens
- SEO Standing
Using the following measurement tools can provide a useful insight into basic information however the difficultly is making measuring return on investment provide an insight into the value of a conference whilst improving the attendee experience for delegates.
Making Surveys Fun - Live SurveysA study conducted by EMI showed 64% of event marketers used post-event surveys to gather either quantitative and qualitative information from delegates. Therefore, this would suggest that making surveys accessible and engaging could prove a very valuable tool when measuring return on investment.
A way to make this engaging and different than the standard survey is to introduce in event surveys during the event or the immediately after an event. The survey could be sent via email or using a live polling application. Getting information and feedback from attendees from mobile devices whilst at the event provides a fresher alternative.
This technique also means that attendees of the conference will still have content fresh in their mind and therefore will be more honest and open to feedback. This will also promote healthy discussion between delegates.
Another exciting twist you can add to live surveys is to add an incentive for delegates responses. Having a competition with a prize which can be announced during the event could prove helpful in increasing response rate.
It's All Just a GameWhat if measuring return on investment was just a game? Well with the emergence of gamification this could become a reality. The use of games to collect valuable information and data from delegates is now becoming an emerging trend within the events industry.
An example of a simple to execute game which could be introduced to a corporate conference include a networking challenges in which the delegates are incentivised to attempt to get the most business cards over the course of the conference. Not only does this provide an interesting and cost-effective aspect within an event but it also encourages, and grants delegates increased networking opportunities.
Keep an Eye on Social Media
A channel which has been used extensively to provide an insight into delegate experience is social media. Utilising a pre-determined hashtag for an event can be a useful tool on monitoring attendee’s social media activity during an event but typically this is when the interaction ends. However, being active on social media pre-and post-event can be a beneficial activity in measuring ROI.
Monitoring interactions on social media will not only help event managers not only identify the attendees who are really interested in the event, but the social data can be used to create post event content such as graphics based on the most popular speakers quotes or images from the conference itself. This information will also help in deciding what content was successful when producing the event in following years.
With the introduction of programs and tools, monitoring social media does not have to be a laborious task for conference managers anymore. Programs such as Hootsuite and Mention provide a social dashboard which will help track all mentions of unique hashtags and the event name across a range of social media platforms. Not only this but the Hootsuite allows for real time responses to interactions no matter the location of the user.
Social media can also be integrated into the gamification at an event by offering delegates incentives such as for most interacted posts or for posting photos of the conference.
ConclusionOn the surface measuring the return on investment for conferences be quite a challenge however with clear goal setting and identifying the techniques which will help you get the data you need, it doesn’t need to be difficult. Gaining data from delegates in a fun way not only helps to increase the amount of responses and engagement but can be successful in increasing the delegate experience.
Sarah Hill is a content writer at Seven Events Ltd – a leading event agency in London, specialising in event management, incentive travel management, conference management & team building events. The company has successfully managed in achieving its goals in creating events that exceed expectations and adding value to their client’s businesses. In her role, her best dive is corporate event ideas and event management tips.